What factors--such as economic, national security, and environmental--should Washington consider as it mulls how to reform biofuels policy?
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held two hearings last week on biofuels policy, focusing on the renewable-fuels standard and also fraud within the biofuels-trading system. Congressional Republicans also keep up a steady drumbeat of criticism about the military's investment in biofuels. The Obama administration continues its support of biofuels, but it has been less outspoken about the energy source this year than it was earlier in President Obama's term. It's important to keep in mind that biofuels make up a small part of the transportation mix--about 4 percent--and the overwhelming portion of that is corn-based ethanol.
What are the biggest challenges facing biofuels development today? What are the overarching factors Washington should consider when developing biofuels, such as the goal to become less dependent on foreign oil, create jobs, and protect the environment?
Should the renewable-fuels standard be changed or eliminated altogether? Should the military ramp up--or down--its investment in biofuels? What other issues, such as the biodiesel systems fraud, should Congress and the executive branch consider within the realm of biofuels?